Tips: scheduling drama shoots

Andy Richardson, the scheduling manager of Doctors, gives an insight into the skills need to schedule a multicamera drama shoot.

Good production knowledge
You need to understand how a TV programme is made and how long things take to film. For example, work out which shots are weather dependent, so that you can schedule the appropriate time for each sequence.

TV Production is a team effort. Your ideal schedule could be thrown into disarray once the needs of other departments like costume or design enter the mix. If you’re not flexible then you could be making other people work twice as hard as they need to. Expect your schedule to be altered right up to the last minute.

"Once you've checked it for the third time, check it again." – Andy Richardson

You need a thick skin. Constructive criticism and changes to your schedules are part of the production process.

Attention to detail
Good attention to detail is essential. Check, check and check again. There’s no software that will tell you if you’ve scheduled the same actor to be in two different places at the same time. The whole crew is dependent on your schedule and mistakes can be costly.

A sense of humour
As with any production job, a sense of humour can be helpful tool in your production armoury. Drama shoots can often mean long hours, so if you can laugh with your colleagues, it will make things much easier.